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Adapted from "The New Portuguese Table," by David Leite. This recipe makes more red pepper paste than is needed. The remainder can be used on beef, chicken, firm-fleshed fish and even potato halves bound for roasting in the oven.
For the Amped Up Red Pepper Paste
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 2 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika
- 1⁄4 cup dry red wine
- 8 -10 garlic cloves
- 2 turkish bay leaves, well crumbled
- 1 tablespoon double-concentrated tomato paste
- 1⁄2 freshly squeezed large lemon, juice of (1 1/2 tablespoons)
- 1 leaf and tender stems from 7 sprigs cilantro
- 1 leaf from 5 sprigs flat leaf parsley
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
- 1 few dashes hot sauce
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
For the Pork Tenderloin
- two 14-ounce pork tenderloin, fat and silver skin removed, each of the tenderloins cut crosswise in half
- 1⁄4 lb firm cheese, such as Nisa, Sao Jorge or 1⁄4 lb pecorino romano cheese, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons amped-up red pepper paste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (may substitute lard)
- 1⁄2 cup dry white wine
- 1 1⁄2 cups low sodium beef broth
- chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish
- To Make the Pepper Paste: Combine the sweet paprika and the smoked paprika, the wine, garlic (to taste), crumbled bay leaves, tomato paste, lemon juice, cilantro, parsley, salt, white pepper and piri-piri sauce (to taste) in the bowl of food processor or blender; pulse until the garlic and herbs are minced, stopping to scrape down any chunky bits from the sides of the bowl or jar.
- With the motor running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream to form a homogenous dark-red paste; this should take 1 to 2 minutes. Use the mixture immediately, or transfer it to a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 1 month.
- Make the Tenderloin:Use a metal skewer to poke a center channel running the length of each tenderloin half. Widen the channel to about 1/2 inch in diameter, then carefully stuff the cheese into the pork.
- Place the stuffed tenderloin halves in a large (2-gallon) plastic food storage bag, then use a wide knife to cover the meat with the red pepper paste. Carefully invert the bag, holding the tenderloin halves in place, then repeat to cover the rest of the meat, using all of the paste. Season with the black pepper. Seal and refrigerate for 4 hours or up to overnight.
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and crank up the heat to 400 degrees. Remove the pork from the fridge and let it sit for 20 minutes. Have a large rimmed baking sheet ready, preferably with an uncoated wire rack nested in it.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tenderloin halves (with the paste on them) and sear for 6 to 8 minutes, turning occasionally, until well browned all around. The skillet will be used to make a sauce; drain off any fat and keep it on the stove top (off the heat).
- Use tongs to transfer the tenderloin halves to the rack. Roast for about 20 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meat (and not into the cheese) registers just under 150 degrees. Let them rest for 5 minutes before cutting. Some of the cheese may ooze out as the meat roasts; this is okay. Use a knife to gently push it back into its channel.
- While the tenderloins are roasting, place the skillet over high heat, then add the white wine. Bring to a boil, using a wooden spoon or spatula to dislodge any browned bits. Add the beef broth and return the mixture to a boil; cook for about 5 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced to 1 cup. Remove from the heat.
- To serve, cut the pieces of each tenderloin half on the bias into 2 pieces. Lay one half in the center of each plate; if desired, lean the other against it at a jaunty angle. Drizzle equal amounts of the sauce over each portion. Garnish with the parsley; serve warm.